5 ways to fall asleep faster, according to sleep doctors
If you spend the night tossing and turning, these tips and product recommendations can help you get to sleep.
Sometimes it seems like the world is conspiring against your ability to get some sleep. The birds, as lovely as they are, start chirping way too early and the landscapers and car-honkers always seem to follow suit. That construction zone down the street somehow sounds as if it were directly outside your window, that weekday party went way too long, and to top it all off, the government has literally stolen an hour from you via daylight saving.
While many external factors aren’t within your control, you can do a few things to help lull yourself to sleep and, once your there, ensure that your sleep is the kind that will have you feeling energized the next morning. We tapped a handful of experts for advice on how to get more zzz’s — and the products that will help you doze off.
1. CONSIDER MEDITATION (FOR REAL THIS TIME)
You’ve heard this advice ad nauseum, but there’s a reason meditation has been prescribed to treat the human condition since roughly 1500 BCE. “The art of falling asleep is actually not trying so hard,” says Dr. Alex Dimitriu, who’s board-certified in both psychiatry and sleep medicine. “Knowing how to clear your thoughts and focus on breathing will always help. The trick is to practice by day — not when it's mission-critical at 3 a.m.” Meditationcan be as simple as sitting in a quiet space and taking meaningful, deliberate breaths or listening to your favorite music for five minutes.
For some guidance, try an app like Headspace, which walks you through sessions and even has a special category for Sleep Sounds and Meditations.
2. ELIMINATE ALLERGENS FROM YOUR BEDROOM
The accumulation of allergens in your bedroom can contribute to subpar sleep. “Reducing your exposure to allergens — such as dust mites, pollen and pet dander — while you sleep will reduce itchy watery eyes, eczema, nasal congestion, and coughing,” notes Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network. “The bedroom is most important place to keep allergen free since we spend most time at once there.” To help, keep windows closed during peak-pollen seasons, keep pets off the bed, and wash your bedding, dust and sweep once a week. Also, Dr. Parikh says that any HEPA air purifier will help combat mold and animal dander. Since pollen and dust mites are too small to be filtered, she recommends a dust mite cover that zips around your mattress and box spring.
3. AVOID BLUE LIGHT AROUND BEDTIME
We’re surrounded by blue light via smart phones and light bulbs, and it notably contributes to wakefulness. “Your body needs to know that it's nighttime so it can prepare for sleep. This is why, when you are camping, it's hard to stay awake,” says Dr. Amy Serin, a neuropsychologist, and author of "The Stress Switch." “The brain uses sunlight to know when it's day or night, but unfortunately artificial light can trick your body into thinking it's daytime. It's not just your screens doing it — lamps and overhead lighting trick your brain as well.”
Camping every single night (or resisting the urge to scroll Instagram) isn’t an option for most of us, but blue-light filtering glasses can help.
4. ELIMINATE DRAMA RIGHT BEFORE SLEEP
A spike in cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, can contribute to an inability to fall asleep. For that reason, it’s best to eliminate all sources of stress before going to bed. That includes highly dramatic TV shows and movies (save the Free Solo documentary for the afternoon), stressful text messages or conversations, and racing thoughts. “Because sleep is dependent on nervous system regulation, reducing stress and restoring someone to a state of calmcan promote sleep onset, and can help someone go back to sleep if they wake up prematurely during the night," says Dr. Serin, who invented a neuroscience device, called TouchPoints, that helps stabilize cortisol levels to help you fall asleep more easily. "Anything relaxing can help someone fall asleep like gentle music, aromatherapy and deep breathing, meditation, even journaling and winding down with herbal tea before bed can help."
Dr. Dimitriu adds: "If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring and relaxing. A dim light and a book are ideal.”
5. KEEP COOL — LITERALLY
“Your body naturally wants to cool down as you enter deep sleep, and anything you can do that increases this cooling helps with getting deeper, more restorative sleep,” says Dr. Dimitriu. This can be as simple as taking a warm shower about an hour before bed, which triggers your body to lower its internal temperature. "I’m a minimalist when it comes to devices and special products to improve sleep. Essentially, I try to encourage my patients to keep their sleep routines simple and straight forward," adds Dimitriu. As far as products which can improve sleep — quite simply a comfortable bed (softer for side sleepers), and a good pillow to match can help. While cooling pads and blankets are available, it might just be simplified to using a light enough blanket made of breathable fabric to facilitate good cooling and breathability. Room temperature is essential too, and should be kept on the cooler side, generally below 70 degrees."
If you are interested in testing out cooling bedding, there is an entire range of products out there. For example, the Buffy Cloud Comforteris constructed from highly breathable materials that help regulate temperature while also shield-guarding against allergens and Nest Bedding’s Cooling Mattress Topper cools you while you sleep (while adding extra comfort) via two inches of their SmartFlow Gel Memory Foam.
Where Women Create WORK's Spring 2019 Issue - Vicki Mayo
Where Women Create WORK's Spring 2019 Issue - Vicki Mayo
Hubspot - What Can a Brain Scan Tell Us About Stress and Technology?
Originally published Feb 14, 2019, 7:00:00 AM, updated February 14, 2019, by Amanda Zantal-Wiener (@amanda_zw).
My brain has been called many things over the years -- from a "gold mine," to a "minefield," to, most recently, a "hamster wheel."
That was the term assigned to it at CES 2019, a major annual consumer electronics events after I received a brain scan while sampling a product called TouchPoints.
TouchPoints are small wearable devices that release micro-vibrations that, when worn by users, can trigger a nervous system response that has shown, in some cases, to lower stress levels. That's where the brain scan comes in -- at CES, the team behind TouchPoints used it to show what a user's brain activity looked like before and after using the devices.
But how, exactly, does it work -- and what does it say about the broader concept of stress, as well as where it intersects with technology?
Here's what happened when I underwent my own brain scan, and what I learned about that very question.
Wearable, Connected Wellness
TouchPoints fall under the category of wearables: a type of technology that seeks to shrink down intelligent electronic devices -- e.g., smart watches -- to an accessory or item of clothing that can be worn by its users. In 2019, wearables are predicted to see a 9% increase in sales, leading them to draw high levels of attention among consumers and industry analysts alike.
The specific wearable technology behind TouchPoints are the vibrations they emit -- formally known as bilateral alternating stimulation tactile, or BLAST.
According to research conducted by Dr. Amy Serin -- a neuropsychologist and the founder of the Serin Centers for psychology, who helped administer the brain scans -- exposure to BLAST vibration has correlated with changes in brain activity that indicate a deescalated stress response. These include modifications to the user's overall calmness, as well as physical symptoms that often result from stress, like stomach pain or muscle tension.
The Brain Scan
What the Scan Measures
So, how can a brain scan measure the effectiveness of a wearable device like TouchPoints?
Well, the scan -- formally known in this case as a quantitative electroencephalogram -- is used to measure beta activity in the brain. When such brain activity is elevated, Dr. Serin explains, it can be an indicator of stress.
"Excess beta activity is associated with anxiety and obsessive thinking," says Dr. Serin. And if a scan shows decreased beta activity, it's "associated with clearer thinking and calm focus."
As a self-admitted over-thinker, I wasn't sure just how effective a wearable device would really be in addressing what is, for me, a typical baseline of high stress. If daily meditation and mindful breathing practices weren't enough, how could wearables -- which have faced a degree controversy -- so easily fix the problem?
But when a neuropsychologist invites you to try a product that could potentially lower your anxiety in 30 seconds -- and pair it with a personal brain scan -- you say, "Yes."
Following the 45-minute process of being fitted for a brain-wave-reading cap, being asked to think of something stressful, and then being fitted with the TouchPoints (see the video at the end of this post), my results were in and displayed on a large screen.
"That's your hamster wheel," said Dominic Di Loreto MA, BCN Director of Applied Neuroscience at the Serin Center, pointing to the image on the left: the "before TouchPoints" image of my brain activity.
The image on the right, meanwhile, displays my brain activity after wearing the TouchPoints for a few minutes.
I stood, dumbfounded, starting at my scan results. "That's incredible," I said, after muttering some disbelief-inspired expletives.
What The Results Mean
As for my own scan results, "The image on the left shows the excess beta activity in your brain before TouchPoints. Excess beta activity is associated with anxiety and obsessive thinking," she explains. "During TouchPoints use, your beta activity lowered significantly as shown on the right. This is associated with clearer thinking and calm focus."
It's an intriguing intersection -- that a phenomenon that's been shown to increase stress levels (technology) is actually being built at a rate higher than ever to counter these symptoms, and to improve overall mental and physical health. The entire concept started, arguably, with mobile apps designed for mindfulness. Now, the technology can be worn by the user directly.
I had a chance to speak with Dr. Serin before, during, and after the brain scan process -- and about what devices like wearables say about the current state of stress in the modern era.
Data collected by Dr. Serin and her team, for instance, "show that it is unfortunately very common for people to be in stressful states way too often. But using TouchPoints can bring a profound sense of calm without the user having to shift what they are doing."
Stress is on the rise globally. Our bodies are not meant to live with artificial light, screen time instead of real interaction, chronic sleep problems, et cetera. The result is more excess stress. And worse, the common 'stress management' techniques add more to your day or are inefficient.
- Dr. Amy Serin, Neuropsychology and TouchPoint Solution Co-founder
Dr. Serin pointed to the convenience factor of a wearable device like TouchPoints: something that can be easily put on by the user and reduces stress without taking a significant "break" in the day.
"That's what people need now more than ever," she says. "Instant stress relief without adding another 'to-do' to an already packed schedule."
But others in the field of psychology have questions about the idea of a quick fix -- and understandably so. While my own scan showed evidence of decreased activity associated with stress, it was done so with the guidance of professionals who reminded me to unclench my jaw and try to relax once I had the TouchPoints on.
"I think it’s great that we are using our powers of technology to improve ways to treat mental health issues," says Dr. Laurie Paul, a psychologist in the Washington, DC area. "My main concern, though, is when the general public interprets things like this [e.g, brain scan results], they may misinterpret it because they haven’t had the proper training that a neuropsychology professional would have."
And while these concerns are valid, it doesn't completely negate the positive benefits of wearable devices like TouchPoints. It's possible that one might experience the best results with the guidance of an expert, or perhaps in tandem with other stress-reducing activities, like meditation or mindfulness practice.
The bottom line: To see founders and experts within the tech industry develop devices to encourage wellness is an overall positive development and one that my hamster-wheel-brain and I find encouraging. While the category of wearables is still in a fairly early stage, the emergence of products like TouchPoints from it is a positive sign that, as it evolves, solutions can continue to become more accurate and personalized.
But without further ado -- here's a closer look at the TouchPoints experience.
This article first appeared in Hubspot on February 14, 2019, by Amanda Zantal-Wiener. To read the full article, click here.
Business Insider - New Study on Children With Autism and Developmental Delays Show TouchPoints Wearable Devices Reduced 72% of Disruptive and Self-Harming Behaviors
New Study on Children With Autism and Developmental Delays Show TouchPoints Wearable Devices Reduced 72% of Disruptive and Self-Harming Behaviors
Data released from Ysgol Maes Y Coed, a special educational needs school in South Wales, UK showed a staggering reduction in problematic behaviors in case studies of children ages 7-14. Researchers tracked baseline behaviors for one week without TouchPoints, stress-relieving neuroscience wearables, and one week with the devices on the children during the entire school day.
The diagnoses of the children included Autism and Global Developmental Delay. Different problematic behaviors were tracked per the individual child. In one child, lying on the floor and screaming occurred 27 times and 67 times without the devices. That reduced to 6 times and one time, respectively over the course of the week with the TouchPoints. In another child, the number of incidences of headbanging was observed 273 times without the devices and 18 times with the devices.
Ali Rodenburg BA(Ed)Hons, MDip, the principal researcher, commented that introducing TouchPoints to the school yielded "an extremely positive impact on pupils who have limited ability to explain how they are feeling and communicate their frustrations." Every child who used TouchPoints "has displayed a reduction in their visible anxiety/frustration." Overall, there was an average reduction of 72% of problematic behaviors. "This is outstanding and has huge potential," she added. "The impact on wellbeing and maintenance on inner calm is overwhelming." The school plans on continuing to use TouchPoints with more of their students.
Dr. Amy Serin, inventor and Chief Science Officer noted that she wasn't surprised at the researchers' findings. "When you understand how the BLAST technology in TouchPoints works, you can predict what behaviors will spontaneously change when they are applied in individuals who have difficulty regulating for a variety of reasons. We are looking forward to more data as there are several research institutions and schools around the world currently conducting studies using TouchPoints to examine their effects on stress, sleep, performance, pain, and behavior."
SOURCE TouchPoint Solution
Markets Insider and Business Insider Editorial Teams were not involved in the creation of this post.
This article first appeared in Business Insider on February 12, 2019 by The TouchPoint Solution. To read the full article, click here.
Forbes Names TouchPoints as Best Health Tech And Fitness Innovations At CES 2019
Your brain can turn on your stress switch in milliseconds - hundreds of times a day. And this fresh wearable company, says it can use technology to turn down the stress switch while you go about your day to restore calm, rational thinking, better performance. This tech comes in the form of non-invasive neuroscientific wearables called TouchPoints, which are based on a tech called BLAST. By doing so, they are said to relieve stress by over 70% in just 30 seconds. To prove its vibrating wearables actually worked, TouchPoint scanned my brain before and after using them. And as you can see from the data below, they managed to reduce the levels of stress (in red) on the right frontal lobe of my brain. But not for long; the CES show floor is pretty brutal..
TouchPoints named Best of CES 2019 in Health and Wellness Category by Digital Trends
TouchPoints are starting off 2019 with a bang! Our team just attended CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas to showcase TouchPoints among many of the world’s other most innovative gadgets. We’re excited to announce that while at the show, TouchPoints won a coveted Digital Trends’ Top Tech of CES 2019 Award. Here’s what they had to say about TouchPoints:
“Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but the health and wellness sector is a bit of minefield. It’s not always easy to find the gadgets and services that are based on sound science, that can actually alleviate suffering and improve lives because there’s a hefty chunk of snake oil out there. We scouredCES 2019 in search of the best health gadgets and, where possible, put them to the test. Here’s what we found.
The negative impact stress can have on our daily lives iswell understood nowadays. Stress can be crippling, causing all kinds of physical symptoms, and often making people ill — it’s estimated that 1 million people call in sick every day because of stress. The Touchpoint Basic is two watch-sized wearables that emit haptic vibrations at three different intensities. Developed by neuropsychologist Amy Serin, the idea is that bi-lateral stimulation can reduce the physical effects of stress in just 30 seconds, slowing your heartbeat and getting rid of the butterflies in your stomach.
We tried it out for ourselves and found that it did make us feel less stressed. You simply press the buttons on top each unit to start them off, holding them close together so they sync and vibrate sequentially. If you still feel stressed, press again for a higher level of vibration. There are three levels and then another press turns them off. Touchpoint quickly reduces the physical feelings of stress and helps you to focus better. The big problem is that the vibrations are quite loud, it sounds like an incoming call when your phone is set to vibrate which makes it tough to use unobtrusively.
There’s a lot of solid research to back up the claims on this one and it worked for us, so if you struggle with stress, it might be worth considering.”
“Stress impacts millions of people every day. It can cause unwanted physical effects, prevent us from having fun or going to work, and even make us gravely ill in the long term if we don't take steps to deal with it. Touchpoints is designed to shake you out of your usual stress responses, slowing your heart rate and killing the butterflies in your stomach within 30 seconds of turning it on. A twin set of vibrating devices that look like watches send out synchronized vibrations that disrupt your body's typical stress routine. You can wear one on each wrist and pick a vibration intensity that works for you.
Developed by neuroscientist Amy Serin, Touchpoints relies on a proven bilateral stimulation technique to reduce cortisol levels and help you focus. It's backed by solid research and studies, and Touchpoints put it into action at CES with brain scans and blood pressure monitoring to show the impact. We have been testing it out for ourselves and feel a tangible reduction in our stress level each time we use it. The basic version costs $160.”
- By Simon Hill
Vogue - 5 Ways to De-Stress—And Stay Sane—During the Holidays
5 Ways to De-Stress—And Stay Sane—During the Holidays
Nothing says the holidays like braving maddening airport crowds, eschewing prying questions at big family gatherings, or looming end-of-year work deadlines. With the perpetual golden glow of twinkly lights and a flurry of parties filling your calendar, it may be the merriest of seasons, but, by the same token, it can—and probably will—send your stress level into overdrive.
The good news is that the breadth of offerings that take high cortisol levels to task has never been greater, allowing for a release in tension and a feeling of ease during this spirited season. From calming neuroscientific wearables to the latest CBD oil elixir, here are five new ways to get through the most wonderful—yet laughably fraught—time of the year.
The Good Vibrations
As the gold medal winner of the 2018 Edison Awards, which recognizes groundbreaking technology in wellness, this anxiety-minimizing gadget lives up to the recognition. Using a neuroscience technology called BLAST, which stands for bilateral alternating stimulation–tactile, the wearable device administers gentle micro- vibrations on either side of the body that have been shown to reduce stress by 70 percent in as little as 30 seconds. While designed to help manage everyday triggers, it may prove particularly fruitful during chaotic holiday travel—or if you’re getting the third degree at the Thanksgiving table.
The Round-the-Clock Adaptogens
ABC 15 Arizona - Helping migrant children living alone in US experiencing trauma from separation
Helping migrant children living alone in US experiencing trauma from separation
About Vicki Mayo and The TouchPoint Solution:
Vicki Mayo is CEO of The TouchPoint Solution, a Scottsdale, AZ-based wellness company that created TouchPoints- twin neuroscientific wearable devices that use patent-pending BLAST (bilateral alternating stimulation tactile) technology to reduce stress by up to 70% in as few as 30 seconds Learn more about TouchPoints here &buy now.
Elevate AZ - Mothers of Invention
Three female entrepreneurs share their stories of hard-earned success
The saying “necessity is the mother of invention” is often credited to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato’s writings in “The Republic.” In the case of three Arizona women inventors, the proverb rings as true as ever in the modern world of business. Experiencing challenges in their own personal or professional lives led them to take the risky, often daunting, steps into entrepreneurship in order to bring their visions into reality—and share their inspirations with a wider audience.
Three and a half years ago, Tracy Miller was living in a tiny apartment in New York City. A fan of fresh juices and smoothies, she was also on a post-college budget—and frustrated when her healthy foods would go bad within a few hours.
“Like every other question in life, I turned to Google,” she says. “When I tried freezing them, some exploded in my little freezer, which was a bummer.”
Then a light bulb went off. Miller worked for the manufacturer of Rabbit wine accessories and asked one of the company engineers if wine preservation principles could be used for fruits and vegetables. After a year of making samples, the results were positive and she raised $36,000 on Kickstarter in 2016.
“I thought, wow, this is a marketable product and it’s not just friends and family telling me to go for it,” Miller says.
During the development process, Miller moved to Arizona and set up shop at the CO+HOOTS co-working space in Phoenix. “New York was very competitive, but this was a supportive community,” she says. “As a startup, it’s nice to have people who want to help with feedback and connections.”
The SANS product line uses a vacuum seal and pump mechanism to remove air and keep contents fresh. In addition to the original 16-ounce glass bottle, there’s a plastic version and 32-ounce carafes. This summer, SANS also introduced baby food savers.
Being featured in publications such as “O, The Oprah Magazine” and “New York Magazine” helped with brand awareness. This summer, the big break came when SANS struck a deal with Kroger, so you can now find their products in local Fry’s Food Stores.
“Rejection and quality control are the toughest part, but product development and innovating new cool products are the best,” says Miller, noting that she’s got more products in the pipeline that she’s eager to launch.
Dr. Amy Serin
The TouchPoint Solution
Arizona native Dr. Amy Serin has operated her Serin Center neuropsychology clinics for the past 11 years in Peoria, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Several years ago, she began consulting with elite military members on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prevention.
“It got me thinking about not just putting an end to PTSD, but how to help people in general with their stress responses,” she says.
She believed a time-tested PTSD therapy could be adapted into a wearable technology for all kinds of users, and began working on the concept overseas at a research institution. When she returned to Arizona in 2015, her friend Vicki Mayo mentioned that her daughter was having night terrors, and Serin gave her some prototypes to reduce her daughter’s stress.
“It worked a miracle,” Mayo says. Since the research institution process was slow, Mayo suggested they bring the product to market themselves.
TouchPoints are digital wearable therapeutic devices worn on opposite sides of the body: on the wrists, in socks or pockets, or on tank top straps. They use gentle vibrations—similar to a cell phone buzz—to alter the body and brain’s natural stress response.
“The human stress response switches on based on sensory information,” Serin says. “The micro-vibrations, which we call BLAST technology, override the stress switch without your attention or awareness.”
Data from thousands of users has shown about a 70 percent reduction in stress levels within just 30 seconds of use. In addition to professionals such as therapists and doctors, TouchPoints have been used successfully by business executives, children with developmental disabilities, college students with testing anxiety, and athletes. Among several international honors, TouchPoint won an Edison Awards 2018 Gold Medal Wellness Technology.
“Ironically, using our own product helped us through the growing pains of a new tech startup,” Serin says. “But the most rewarding thing is hearing stories of how the technology has transformed other people’s lives.”
Being a first-time mother is tough enough, but delivering when you have the flu brings its own risks because of your shared immune systems.
“Basically, my daughter was born with a cold,” says Linda Foss. “The hospital sent us home with one of those little blue bulb syringes to help clear her airway, but there was no way to properly disinfect or clean it.”
Unable to find quality bulb syringes in stores, Foss returned to the hospital, only to be told that they don’t give out medical devices. On the Internet, she found countless other mothers who had experienced similar frustrations.
“I realized there was an opportunity when I couldn’t get my hands on one,” says Foss, who branded her first disposable product, the Original Hospital-Grade Baby Nasal Aspirator. “I also knew I was running on a short window of time, because medical suppliers hadn’t caught on to the home care angle.”
In 2011 and 2012, as suppliers began to cross into her market, she recognized her next step was to create an improved model: a durable, cleanable baby nasal aspirator. During prototyping and development, Foss had a stroke of good fortune when an industry veteran found her website and connected her with a medical manufacturer who could make the new product.
In 2014, the BoogieBulb was ready to launch. Its Amazon listing resulted in significant organic reach, and then an article in “The Wall Street Journal” article helped increase brand awareness. The first purchase orders could come in from Wal-Mart at any time, and BoogieBulb is under consideration by CVS, too.
“As entrepreneurs, we sometimes want to go from A to Z and forget all the steps in between,” Foss says. “I just trust the timing and the process, and the most rewarding aspect is knowing that my product is helping people.”
By Jake Poinier
Photography by Mark Lipczynski
*This article first appeared in Elevate AZ on October 2, 2018, by Jake Poinier. To read the full article, click here.
Closing The Gap - Introduce Peace Into Your Daily Life
Introduce Peace Into Your Daily Life
CALMING VIBRATIONS FOR STRESSFUL SITUATIONS
Learning how to deal with stress is important because, when untreated, it can be terrible for your physical and emotional health. Stress can directly affect your sleep, performance, mood, relationships and more.
Unfortunately, traditional methods of managing stress require a significant financial and time investment, so finding a way to regulate it while you go about your day represents a profound shift in the way we all can live more productive lives.
Consider TouchPoints your holistic health partner for body and mind. They use neuroscience and technology to directly affect the body’s biological mechanism for stress to deliver results in as few as 30 seconds.
WHAT ARE TOUCHPOINTS?
TouchPoints™ are twin neuroscientific wearables that provide fast relief from stress. They are worn on each side of the body preventatively or on-the-spot for 15 minutes before, during or after a stressful situation.
Using gentle, haptic micro vibrations called BLAST (bilateral alternating stimulation tactile), TouchPoints give the user a gentle vibration that affects the brain and alters the body’s fight, flight or freeze response to restore calm nervous system functioning.
This not only helps to reduce the amount of perceived stress experienced, but also the associated body sensation that comes with it (i.e. stomach butterflies or tightness in the chest).
Having the ability to think rationally without an associated body sensation helps the brain create new neural pathways that are net positive, and this has a lasting effect on your brain. Now the next time you think of that same stressful situation, it doesn’t feel so bad!
HOW DO TOUCHPOINTS WORK?
The patent-pending BLAST technology in TouchPoints is backed by decades of scientific and academic research on bilateral stimulation that shows significant reductions in beta activity in the brain with use.
Stress activates in milliseconds, turning on and off like a light switch hundreds of times a day.
When we’re stressed, our brain processes a complex set of risk factors. From body sensations to our internal thoughts to circumstances in our external environment, our brain makes a rapid decision about how to react to the perceived threat. The threat could be external (we see a snake on our hiking trail) or internal (we miss a deadline at work and fear losing our job). This triggers our stress response to turn on instantaneously, shooting our adrenaline and cortisol levels through the roof.
While this is a very good biological mechanism for survival, most of the time our lives are not at risk – this doesn’t stop the light switch from still turning on, even when it doesn’t need to.
This ruins lives and ultimately challenges the status quo of the way we perceive stress. There is a solution! Advances in neuroscience have shown us that using bilateral stimulation can actually turn the light switch off just as easily as we turn it on.
Neuroscience shows that using BLAST technology in TouchPoints can actually turn the stress switch off without you having to breathe, meditate, or stop what you are doing.
Data from thousands of TouchPoints users confirms significant stress relief along with a relief in disturbing body sensations in just 30 seconds. This groundbreaking research has been peer-reviewed, published, and dozens of global research projects are underway to examine the benefits of TouchPoints on cortisol levels, pain, focus, performance, attention, sleep, irritability, and quality of life.
TouchPoints offer a passive, non-invasive solution that may be more powerful than other methods in preventing nervous system hyperarousal in real-time. TouchPoints can be used in the classroom, at home, or during therapy sessions to help reduce sensory hyperarousal for improved outcomes in children with ASD.
Dr. Amy Serin – The Science of Autism
Dr. Amy Serin speaks on the science of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).
Scottsdale Airpark News - September 2018
Scottsdale Airpark News - September 2018 Issue
Bustle - 11 Hacks For People With High-Functioning Anxiety That Experts Swear By
11 Hacks For People With High-Functioning Anxiety That Experts Swear By
The intersection of mental health and brain science are not always at the forefront. However, a lot of the clichés on what helps stress is actually grounded in significant research and expertise on anxiety and the brain. And when you try these little tricks to feel better, you will know you're doing something that has the support of experts.
High-functioning anxiety is no less all-consuming than other forms of anxiety. "High-functioning anxiety is common in people who can power through anxiety with hard work and dedication, often with positive outcomes," Dr. Amy Serin, co-founder and Chief Science Officer of The TouchPoint Solution, tells Bustle. "However, this chronic state of having your stress switch turned on often leaves people with exhaustion, burnout, trouble sleeping, and even health problems." And no one deserves to walk through life with that level of pain.
Whether it's professional help, or seeking support with yourself and your family, just taking the first step is a big deal if you have high-functioning anxiety. "People with high-functioning anxiety want to appear strong and capable of being able to handle everything that life throws at them," Prakash Masand M.D., a psychiatrist and founder of the Centers of Psychiatric Excellence, tells Bustle, "So naturally, asking for help is something most people with high-functioning anxiety have a difficult time with." One great place to start looking for help is within the world of brain science, since anxiety lives in the brain. By bringing in friends, professional help, and your own mental health toolkit, you can understand your thoughts better and hopefully start to feel some relief.
Here are 11 hacks for people with high-functioning anxiety that experts swear by.
1. View Rest As A Non-Negotiable
If you have high-functioning anxiety, you might describe yourself as a night owl, or someone who "doesn't need that much sleep" when really you're up late worrying, or pushing tasks until later at night since they're triggering your anxious thoughts. Still, however, experts say you need to take a step back and take care of yourself by resting.
"We all know that sleep is a vital and non-negotiable need," Dr. Marissa Long, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Southern California, Founder of the ThriveWISEmental health and wellness subscription box, tells Bustle. "We also know that for many of us, it is the first thing to get cut when we have too many priorities to manage at once ... While the ideal amount of sleep can vary from person to person, it's important to know what works best for you and guard that time at all costs." Even if you struggle with insomnia, breaking off this time even just to close your eyes, or lay in bed, can be really helpful for your mental health.
2. Practice Breathing Techniques
Breathing techniques are a tried-and-true form of anxiety relief. And that's not just because they're easy and free; they're actually backed up by a good amount of science.
"The positive effects of a deep breathing practice have been shown in research over and over again," Dr. Long says. "Deep breathing can reduce blood pressure, improve digestive functioning, regulate sleep and decrease anxiety." So try having a moment to focus on your breath once in the morning, and once in the evening. These dedicated moments can help you feel more equipped to handle life's stressors.
3. Learn To Challenge Your Thoughts
Brain and anxiety experts are all about using your brain to fight your symptoms, of course. So naturally they're inclined to want to help you use your thoughts as medicine. "Our thoughts are a huge part of anxiety and our ability to manage our thoughts can make a major difference in how effectively we can manage our anxiety," Dr. Long says. So listen to your thoughts, and challenge them, if you feel able.
"People with high-functioning anxiety tend to have a lot of negative self-talk," Prakash Masand M.D., a psychiatrist and founder of the Centers of Psychiatric Excellence, tells Bustle. "Closely monitor the words you use when you speak to yourself." You can either listen to them, or literally write them down. You'll likely find it quite an eye-opening experience.
4. Don't Underestimate Practicing Gratitude
Getting in touch with gratitude may seem like more of a spiritual than cerebral anxiety hack, but the experience is quite well grounded in science.
"Research suggests that practicing gratitude calms the deep limbic system (the emotional center of the brain that’s responsible for managing your mood and attitude) and activates the hypothalamus which regulates metabolism, sleep, and body temperature," authentic success, mindset, and brain health coach Cindy Shaw tells Bustle. "When these regions of the brain are consistently activated, new patterns of neurons fire together to create new thinking and feeling pathways. Over time, the practice of gratitude helps train the brain to fire in a new pattern, creating long-lasting positive changes in the neurological structure of the brain." Whatever way works for you, your brain will thank you.
5. Try Talking To Yourself In Third Person
When it comes to assessing and managing anxious thoughts, sometimes just listening to them and observing them isn't enough. A more proactive way experts say you can help with your high-functioning anxiety is talking to yourself in the third person.
"Studies conducted at the Clinical Psychology Lab at Michigan State Universityfound that when people referred to themselves in the third person, the part of their brain involved in emotional regulation reduced their stress within one second," Shaw says. "Because you feel the way you think, when you talk to yourself like you would speak to and encourage a good friend, you are putting distance between your thoughts and emotions." So, instead of talking to yourself the way you usually do, try talking to yourself like a friend for a day. There's a good chance you'll feel better.
6. Begin Having Honest Conversations With Others
Just beginning to talk about your anxiety openly and honestly can be a major breakthrough for people with high-functioning anxiety (many of whom tend to push their feelings down).
"Maintaining a support system of people who provide positivity can be vital in keeping a happy, healthy mind," Glenn Scott, LCSW, director of the Youth Partial Hospital Program at Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center, tells Bustle. "... Instead of withdrawing from others, be deliberate about staying in communication with the positive people in your life. Isolation can be unhealthy, but connecting with others deeply and honestly can boost your overall well-being." So try to bring yourself back into grounded conversation with the people you care about — they might surprise you.
7. Try Getting In Touch With Your Five Senses
If you deal with high-functioning anxiety, chances are you buzz through the day-to-day without much time to get in touch with your body and the world around you. It may feel overwhelming, but scientists find it incredibly helpful.
"One powerful way to de-escalate if you are losing control is to focus on the physical things that surround you," Scott says. "When stress and anxiety are taking over, one of the best techniques to snap back to the moment is to count five things for each of your senses, making yourself aware of your surroundings and distracting you from the stressors." Start with touch, feeling what's around you, then travel through sound, sight, smell, and taste. Grounding may be exactly what you need.
8. Do Some Light Exercise
A lot of high-functioning anxiety involves pent-up feelings. When you've got a lot of this built-up anxiety stirring around, experts say, often it's a good idea to use movement to help get it out.
"People with high-functioning anxiety are typically full of energy and adrenaline and want to tackle everything that comes their way," Dr. Masand says. "It’s important to find an outlet or activity to release this stored up energy ... [Plus,] since many people with high-functioning anxiety also have insomnia, this can help improve your quality of sleep." Take a walk instead of a drive, try a sport you used to love again, or do some mindful yoga. Your body and mind will likely both be grateful.
9. Start Setting Smaller Goals
One of the things that differentiates high-functioning anxiety from its counterparts is the obsession with perfectionism and goal-setting. While this can help keep you on track, it can also be incredibly harmful. Experts suggest, then, taking it back a notch when it comes to organizing your de-stressing as well.
"While it’s good to have big ambitions, it can be damaging to have goals that are so large that they’re are unrealistic," Scott says. "The feeling of achievement after accomplishing a goal can give you feelings of control over your life, as well as help focus your long-term direction. The sense of purpose achievements bring can strengthen your mind and give you a feeling of peace." So decide to not use your phone before bed for 30 minutes, instead of deciding to get eight whole hours of sleep. Or try to do a breathing technique once this week, instead of putting reminders on your phone every time you expect yourself to do one. Taking the pressure off can be healing.
10. Take A Daily Break
Setting a goal for some quiet time is essential for people with high-functioning anxiety, who often feel propelled forward by stress and worry. If having a time scheduled doesn't add extra stress, try integrating moments of calm into your schedule to quiet your mind and body.
"It can be as short as 20 to 30 minutes, but just find a quiet, relaxing spot and disconnect from the world around you," Dr. Masand says. "Having a rest and relaxation routine is important for everyone, but this is especially true for high-functioning anxiety sufferers. Get comfortable, listen to soothing music, take a hot bath, journal or whatever it is that brings you peace." If it feels too overwhelming to adjust your schedule recurrently, try adding it just once into your week. You deserve the downtime.
11. Give Yourself Permission To Put Yourself First
As someone living with high-functioning anxiety, you likely have all sorts of priorities and goals. If your own personal wellbeing isn't at the top of that list, however, you likely have a clear first step to take in terms of lessening your anxiety.
"It’s really nice to want to help other people and go out of your way to make a difference for someone else, but people with high-functioning anxiety tend to do this more than they should and even put the needs of others in front of their own," Dr. Masand says. "Nobody is saying you have to become mean and not help people, but always make sure you are taking care of yourself, your body, your health and everything in your own life before you go out and try to be a hero to everyone else." In pursuit of this, it's alright to occasionally say "no," and to put personal in front of professional development when you need to. Some pressure might dissipate once you begin to make these distinctions.
Whatever your anxiety tends to revolve around, there are a variety of tried-and-true ways to help calm it down by using your own brain to feel better. Experts cannot guarantee complete relief, but they can offer some great advice for those with high-functioning anxiety who need a little less stress in their day-to-day lives. "It’s important to not make stress-management stressful," Serin says. So know that you deserve to find the kind of help that works best for you, as an individual.